Pope Francis has today appealed to all religious authorities to join in “reaffirming unequivocally that one can never kill in God’s name,” saying the world is “dealing with a homicidal madness which misuses God’s name in order to disseminate death, in a play for domination and power.”
The Holy Father was giving his annual address to the Diplomatic Corps accredited to the Holy See. “Fundamentalist terrorism is the fruit of a profound spiritual poverty, and often is linked to significant social poverty,” – the Pope said – “It can only be fully defeated with the joint contribution of religious and political leaders.”
Pope Francis dedicated his remarks to the theme of security and peace.
“In today’s climate of general apprehension for the present, and uncertainty and anxious concern for the future, I feel it is important to speak a word of hope, which can also indicate a path on which to embark,” the Pope said.
The Holy Father pointed out some of the areas where conflict is affecting people’s lives.
“I think particularly of the fundamentalist-inspired terrorism that in the past year has also reaped numerous victims throughout the world: in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Belgium, Burkina Faso, Egypt, France, Germany, Jordan, Iraq, Nigeria, Pakistan, the United States of America, Tunisia and Turkey,” – he said – “These are vile acts that use children to kill, as in Nigeria, or target people at prayer, as in the Coptic Cathedral of Cairo, or travellers or workers, as in Brussels, or passers-by in the streets of cities like Nice and Berlin, or simply people celebrating the arrival of the new year, as in Istanbul.”
He called on the international community to work for peace.
“Peace is a gift, a challenge and a commitment,” Pope Francis said.
It is a gift because it flows from the very heart of God. It is a challenge because it is a good that can never be taken for granted and must constantly be achieved. It is a commitment because it demands passionate effort on the part of all people of goodwill to seek and build it,” – the Holy Father explained – “For true peace can only come about on the basis of a vision of human beings capable of promoting an integral development respectful of their transcendent dignity.”
The full text of the Holy Father’s address is available here.